Texas League Player Reports: The Cliff Lee Edition

You may notice a pattern in this trio of reports.

Blake Beavan, RHP, Frisco Roughriders


Date of Game Scouted: June 27, 2010


2007 first round draft pick among league leaders in most Texas League pitching statistics, traded to Seattle Mariners in Cliff Lee trade. Very big frame with broad shoulders and barrel chest, good upper body strength. Thick lower body, looks a little doughy in the thighs. Innings-eater build, but some concern that body could go south on him very quickly. Repeatable windup, holds arms out wide from body during slow rotation back, brings them in late. Small leg kick in his delivery into relatively short stride, neither as prominent as they used to be, suspect this is due to loss of flexibility from physical maturation. Fastball velocity sat 88-91 MPH, touching 92 MPH several times early in this outing. Arm speed very average, would be surprised to see him add more velocity as a SP. Does pace himself well, so might not be a stretch to see him add a bit more out of the pen. Despite average velocity, fastball is an impressive offering with heavy life down in the zone. Lots of bad contact on the fastball, thuds instead of cracks off the bat, sounds like batters are swinging at a medicine ball. Fastball gets lots of grounders. Fastball command is good but not outstanding, works the zone well but sometimes catches too much of the plate. Secondary pitches are changeup, slider, curveball. Changeup is of the straight variety, thrown 78-81 MPH. Okay deception on changeup and can get strikes with it, but leaves it up in the zone far too often. Changeup has a chance to be an average offering in the future. Slider generally unimpressive, worked between 80-83 MPH, has some lateral movement but not much in the way of downward movement. Tried to feel for the slider, never seemed to quite get it down, maybe it looks better on other days. Curveball thrown at 78-79 MPH with solid break, the better of his two breaking balls. Threw more curves than sliders, and looked more comfortable with the curve. Shows a solid feel for the pitch, willing and able to throw it for strikes. Pitched backwards a lot, as he showed off-speed for strikes to get ahead in counts, and then pounded away with fastballs to induce contact. Once he got into deep counts, he very rarely looked to his secondaries. Obviously trusts his fastball a lot, but extreme risk-averse pitching style is probably not going to hold up at higher levels, will need to mix his pitches better. Not quite the control artist that you might expect from the numbers, just fortunate enough to have a fastball that few batters at this level have the strength or bat speed to consistently beat. If all goes well, should have plus fastball with two average secondaries in changeup and curveball, possible No. 4 starter with good durability. If things don't work out, could have a solid career as a bullpen arm.




Josh Lueke, RHP, Frisco Roughriders


2007 16th round draft pick, traded to Seattle Mariners in Cliff Lee trade. Power pitcher build, tall and very burly. Very broad shoulders, thick core. Max effort delivery, throws as hard as he can on every pitch. Fastball is 95-97 MPH, true plus-plus velocity from right side. Fastball lacks movement, but hard for batters at this level to consistently take advantage of that. Shows good command of fastball, throws it for strikes, can catch the edges of the zone. Uses a slider as his secondary pitch at 81-84 MPH, inconsistent, more miss than hit. Has the tendency to hang his slider, can't get good break on it without throwing it into the dirt. Needs to get himself out of innings quickly before hitters pick up on the timing of his fastball, capable of getting hit harder than you'd expect. Basically a one and a half pitch guy at present, but fastball is a quality major league offering. If he can improve his slider, potential late inning reliever in the majors. Will get multiple major league chances in any case, as mid-90s strike throwers don't grow on trees.



Matt Lawson, 2B, Frisco Roughriders


2007 14th round draft pick, traded to Seattle Mariners in Cliff Lee trade. Thin and wiry lower body, deceptively strong legs that contribute to above-average speed. Tools are mediocre other than speed, but gets the most out of what he has. Has some upper body strength, good upper body definition with strong arms. Long swing, will pick up his share of strikeouts. Plate discipline is better than the numbers look, has a passable eye at the plate, might not be aggressive enough early in the count. Has more power than you'd think, gets a bit of loft in his swing. Possesses decent aptitude for hitting, not going to wow anybody but the type who should play over his tools. Did not get enough of a read on his defense to say much for the moment, but looks to be an adequate second baseman. Not enough tools or bat to profile as more than a major league fringe player, but needs to move up to AAA to see if he'll keep the average up against better pitching. Upside would be major league utility player with good speed and a little pop.

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